Three free fitness apps for new runners in 2024

Woman sitting on bench in athleisure using a fitness app
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Maridav)

A new year is coming, and with it comes the usual slew of resolution ideas. Are you going to eat better? Are you going to be more positive? Will you finally update that  website you’ve been putting off since 2019? 

OK, that last one may just be for me, but there’s nothing wrong with setting a goal for yourself for the year ahead. Still, setting the goal isn’t usually the issue – it’s sticking to it, particularly when it pertains to anything fitness-related. Are you really going to get up an hour and a half earlier each morning to go for a run when your bed is just so comfortable and toasty? Getting up to lace up your best running shoes can be a challenge, whether you just want to get your 10,000 steps in or you're aiming to lose weight by doing fasted cardio like Henry Cavill,

Whatever your fitness goal or level of exercise, there are some fantastic apps out there to get you moving not only quickly, but consistently. With that in mind, here are three of our best fitness apps for new runners for 2024 to get you into healthier habits.

1. Strava 


(Image credit: Strave/Shutterstock)
  • Great running metrics, with more available for premium subscribers 
  • The social aspect is great for building confidence 
  • Free tier offers tons of features

If you think of a running app, there’s a very good chance the first one on your mind is Strava. The orange-hued platform has been around for years, and has consistently moved with the times to support more devices, offer more data, and add fresh features like Spotify integration and in-app messaging.

You’ll find it on your iPhone, Android phone, or your best smartwatch, and it does a great job of taking your metrics and letting you put them into other apps like Fitbit or Apple Health. It’s also remarkably easy to get set up, with a pleasingly, almost comically large orange ‘Start’ button when hitting the street or treadmill that just begs to be pushed.

Strava’s longevity in the space also means it’s built itself quite a community. The app lets users exchange ‘Kudos’ with friends and rivals to keep them motivated, but it also lets you import your contacts – you never know who’s a big Strava fan until you do.

Strava also has a fantastic way of tracking other runners who have been on the same route as you, letting you compete with them, or your route history, to see how you’re improving.

Strava's Premium tier adds Beacon so that you can be located by loved ones, as well as goal-tracking, additional metrics and more, but at $11.99 / £8.99 / AU$14.99, it’s not the cheapest solution out there. The free version has plenty of tools to satisfy most people.

2. Runna 

Runna app being used on track

(Image credit: Runna)
  • Powerful tool for training 
  • Plenty of stats 
  • Shallow free tier 

Arguably slightly geared towards intermediate runners who want to move faster or run for longer, Runna edges out Garmin Connect on this list since it doesn’t tie any features to having compatible hardware.

The first thing of note with Runna, though, is that it’s not much to look at. The app is pretty barebones, although that does put your stats and measurements front and center, and that’s something I’ve come to appreciate.

Runna works off your assigned goals, generating a running plan to get you to, say, running a half or full marathon, or something much shorter. It’ll push you to set new PBs, and calculate an impressively detailed plan to help you hit those targets – and congratulate you when you do.

It also offers a handy audio prompt to help push you on or let you know when you’re a little off the required pace. It’s essentially a running coach in your pocket, only cheaper, but the premium tier still remains an investment at $17.99 / £15.99 / approx AU$30 per month. That’s considerably more than Strava, and Runna’s free tier only gives you a simple training plan. Still, if you’re looking to improve your time or distance, Runna is worth a look.

3. Couch to 5k

Couch to 5K Runner app screenshots

(Image credit: Couch to 5K Runner app / Apple App Store)
  • Ideal for beginners 
  • Easy to use 
  • Experienced runners should look elsewhere 

From an intermediate app to one solely focused on beginners, Couch to 5K is an easy-to-use app that does exactly what it says on the tin – get you off the couch, and into your trainers.

This is achieved through gradually escalating each week of exercise. For example, the first week kicks things off with 60 seconds of running, interspersed with 90 seconds of walking. Gradually, you'll be running more and walking less, until within weeks you’ll be running 20 minutes without stopping, then half an hour.

It works through at your pace, with repeatable schedules, and the best part is that it’s free to use – meaning you can get yourself running a 5K for no cost at all, meaning you can put those savings toward some nice running shoes.

After all, it’s nice to treat yourself when you get to that 5K mark, especially because it’ll make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

This article is part of TechRadar's Get Fit for '24 week of fitness content.

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Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.